Skip to main content

tv   Sino Tv Early Evening News  PBS  March 18, 2011 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT

6:00 pm
>> welcome to "the journal." >> will come. our top stories at this hour, libya declares a cease-fire after the u.n. approves a no-fly zone. rebels say they are still under attack. one week after the earthquake and tsunami, a minute in silence for the dead and missing. efforts to prevent a meltdown as authorities say they might need to bury the whole plant.
6:01 pm
>> with a growing threat of western military intervention in libya diplomatic pressure is growing. the u.s., britain and france warned gaddafi to hold the advance and pull back on other cities. this comes on the heels of a decision to propose a no-fly zone. gaddafi has declared a cease- fire but rebels say government forces continued their assault. >> for these rebels the no-fly zone cannot come soon enough. the resolution gives me new hope. >> there for libya has decided on an immediate cease-fire and
6:02 pm
stoppage of all operations. >> that announcement has been received with skepticism. >> the libyan people have called for international assistance. this resolution paves the way for that to be answered. colonel gaddafi's refusal to hear the repeated calls to stop violence against his own people has left us with no other choice. >> the international community will not be tricked by the libyan regime. the international community will verify strict compliance with the resolution. >> at the nato headquarters preparations were made to pave the way for operations to begin this weekend. >> we now have the power and
6:03 pm
legal basis to stop. that is why what we are doing is right. >> the foreign affairs chief also weighed in. >> the universal view is that gaddafi should go. >> in libya. gaddafi's opponents have new hope that the tide will turn in their favor. i am joined now in the studio by our mideast analyst. do you believe this cease-fire is a serious offer from the regime? >> this is not a serious offer. gaddafi is trying to buy time. there have been fights going on along the tunisian border. the fact is the war is going on. >> what does this mean for the no-fly zone? >> gaddafi is trying to achieve results on the ground.
6:04 pm
he knows starting tomorrow he will face serious consequences in terms of being attacked. >> what options does gaddafi have now? >> there is no way anyone will negotiate with him. however he will not voluntarily leave his position so there will be more fighting for some time to come. >> we are going to come back to you after a few minutes. leaders from europe, the u.s. and arab countries are to meet on saturday in paris to discuss the un resolution. in washington president obama warned gaddafi to implement a cease-fire. he outlined what the international community expects from the leader. >> gaddafi must stop his troops from advancing, pull them back
6:05 pm
from various areas and establish water, electricity and gas to all areas. humanitarian assistance must be allowed to reach the people of libya. these terms are not negotiable. these terms are not subject to negotiations. if gaddafi does not comply, the international community will impose consequences. >> our correspondent in washington has been following events in the joins us now. president obama warned of the consequences for libya. what is the u.s. planning to do? >> they are committed. they are demanding a no-fly zone. they were in favor of the
6:06 pm
resolution passed. they have five major warships in the area. they are very much capable of starting airstrikes on short notice. the question is when will they start? there is a small discussion if it is legal to do these air strikes after gaddafi said he has implemented a cease-fire. they will take time to check if this is true. >> the french have been at the forefront for a push of the no- fly zone but will the u.s. take a leading role? >> obama said on friday that u.s. leadership was essential but made it clear this was an international mission. he was cooperating with the french and british. if we take a hint of who was
6:07 pm
pushing the resolution, it seems like they are still in the driver's seat. the u.s. has the most advanced military but hillary clinton is going to paris to discuss options. >> the u.s. is already fighting two wars. what is the american public saying about the possibility another battle could be fought in north africa? >>y sympathetic towards the fight for freedom but more than six out of 10 americans don't want to see any american soldiers in libya. that is why obama made it very clear. he will not deploy any ground troops. he will not go beyond the goal of helping civilians in libya.
6:08 pm
the americans don't intend to use military force to have a regime change. >> we thank you very much. yemen has declared a state of emergency after 46 protesters were killed in the capital. witnesses say security forces fired live rounds with thousands in a demonstration following friday prayers. police also used teargas to disperse crowds. world leaders including nicholas sarkozy have condemned the crackdown. 10,000 shiite muslims in iraq have protested bahrain protests. heavy machinery was brought into teardown a symbolic statute in the capital. it was a focal point of anti-
6:09 pm
government protests. the protesters are calling for increased civil rights. an unconfirmed reports say four protesters have been killed in anti-government protesters. police dispersed protests in two towns. video shows demonstrators calling for the end of corruption in the country. the marshes were the largest since political unrest began three months ago. joining me in the studio is michelle to talk about the unrest. you studied in syria. we are seeing protest splayed out there. how do you see this playing out? >> it has to do with events we
6:10 pm
see in libya and egypt. it is still very dangerous. these two states will also see violent clashes of people not willing to be ruled by incompetent leaders. it is really always leading to tripoli. other regimes will follow. should he be crashed, then the other regimes will be very fearful and will not dare to use violence. >> the latest on rash is -- unrest is pushing oil prices up. >> oil prices have been fluctuating for weeks especially in the oil-producing companies. crude oil was down $1 after
6:11 pm
gaddafi declared a cease-fire. >> libya is one of africa's main oil producers but the crisis has cut production to a trickle. the foreign companies pulled staff out when the turmoil began. concerns remain this could lead to supply shortages. before the uprising they pumped 1.6 million barrels of oil a day. normally libya exports 85% of its output to italy. libya holds the biggest crude oil reserves on the african continent. >> to japan where it has been
6:12 pm
one week since the earthquake and tsunami that caused so much devastation. we now take a look at the japanese population and how they are coping with the aftermath. many people have lost everything. over half a million people are homeless. survivors stood with the rest of the nation for a moment of silence. >> one week after the earthquake at 2:46 p.m. people observed a moment of silence to commemorate the victims. the death toll is almost 6500. 10,000 others are missing. relief workers also paused for a moment. their task seems almost insurmountable.
6:13 pm
the tsunami and the nuclear crisis caused the number of the evacuees to swell. the cold weather is affecting thousands of people. there have been reports of death among the elderly. >> after filling all the stove's we have run out of fuel. >> it is really cool. we are desperate for hot food. >> many are desperate for news of missing relatives. there are occasional moments of joy. this man was reunited with his cousin he thought was dead. at this air base u.s. troops are helping with aid distribution. time is of the absence -- of the essence.
6:14 pm
>> the tsunami left knee fukushima power plant crippled. japanese officials have raised the incident level to 5 on a seven point scale. engineers are now considering the chernobyl option to prevent a catastrophic release of radiation. japanese authorities are trying to lower the temperature inside of reactor family. it is feared the fuel runs may begin to mouelt. a team has joined the effort. 140 firefighters from tokyo have also arrived. four men more accustomed to tackling fires, it may be the
6:15 pm
greatest challenge of their careers. >> we expect a lot of difficulties with the mission we have been given. japan's reputation on in your hands. >> firefighters volunteered for this mission and are seen as heroes. the situation remains critical. fuel runs and the four reactor is may be exposed. a pool containing spent rods threatens to overheat. they are concerned over the accuracy of information coming from the japanese government. >> the iaea has its own specialists. i brought many of them with me. >> the japanese prime minister made an appearance saying his government has disclosed all available information.
6:16 pm
the situation at the plant gives no cause for optimism. operators are pinning their hopes on a power system to restart cooling pumps. plants has also been drawn up to carry the plant in san and concrete. >> west african leaders will hold a summit to discuss the ongoing political crisis in ivory coast. the community has threatened to use force to out the president. political violence has been escalating and the death toll is mounting. he refused to step down after the election last november. libya has declared a cease-fire in response to the un legislation authorizing military
6:17 pm
force. the minister would stop all military operations to comply with the resolution. more international news after a short break.
6:18 pm
>> germany abstained to offerings the use of force against the gaddafi regime. they may send aircrews and afghanistan to free of u.s. pilots. the prime minister has been detailing the government's position. >> defending the abstention in the un security council, the foreign minister insisted berlin was not isolating itself from international partners. he said the risks and dangers of military invention were too
6:19 pm
great. >> that is why we cannot agree to this part of the resolution. we will not deploy german soldiers in libya. >> chancellor merkle added military reaction is ill- conceived but is offering support to bolster the mission. >> we are consulting with nato about taking on additional burdens. >> that might include additional flights in support of operations in afghanistan. the foreign minister and defense minister are discussing the issue with nato. opposition leaders have broadly supported germany's decision to abstain in the home. >> the foreign ministers abstention still prohibits -- it
6:20 pm
makes clear german forces will not be deployed for this mission. >> it is logical not to block a mission we agree with. but we also don't want to become involved in the military escalation that this resolution foresees. >> chancellor merkle will be in paris for a summit on libya. she bounced germany will do its part to enforce the resolution. for more on the consequences of this latest resolution, i am joined by a security analyst from the german institute for security affairs. are the conditions for filled now for a military engagement? >> we have to wait. it is too early to tell. we don't know if the no-fly zone
6:21 pm
will be implemented by nato. the first allies announced they will participate in the implementation of a no-fly zone. the crucial question is how will the regime react to the implementation despite the announcement they are ready to accept the resolution of the un security council. i cannot imagine the situation where they gaddafi regime will try to escalate as soon as possible. >> are we in for a long conflict on europe's southern flank? >> we have to keep in mind the air force consists of 350 airplanes. most of them of french origin. our defense system in bolivia.
6:22 pm
i would be surprised if they accept the implementation of a no-fly zone. there will be some resistance. it might be the situation and a couple of weeks civilians are affected. one day that will affect the public opinion in the western states. >> you don't think the regime is feeling the pressure from this resolution? >> politically it is isolated. however, the policy of the western allies has been bad gaddafi -- has been that gaddafi has to go away but he is still there. we have to get ready with the situation that he will remain there for the foreseeable future.
6:23 pm
>> let's hand it over to sarah now. we have positive developments on the currency market. >> we saw some calm returns. the finance ministers announced they would jointly intervene in the currency markets to halt the yen's rise. >> stocks in tokyo rallied immediately on the news. they breathed sighs of relief. the intention of central banks of the industrialized countries had been enough to calm the markets. after surging to its highest level, the yen fell 3% on friday. a rising yen is a threat to japanese exporters. ki exporters like toyota are
6:24 pm
already under pressure due to power outages stemming from last friday's disaster. >> most global stocks got a boost but it was not the only driving force on the markets. >> the world's financial markets was overshadowed by the difficult situation in japan. this friday they focused on libya because of reports there might be a cease-fire. this led to a small [unintelligible] but at the end of this session the dax closed in positive territory because the uncertainty remains. the yen went down a little bit because te g-7 states are sure they don't want the yen to go further on. this has been seen very positive
6:25 pm
here. >> let's get a closer look at some of the numbers. we go back to frankfurt where the dax closed higher. in new york the dow jones rounding out the day and 11,858. the hero had a good day against the dollar. -- the euro had a good day. opal is the first european company to cut output because of supply disruptions. they plan to halt production next week. at the plant in germany two outn monday and tuesday. the plant will remain shut all of monday. the cutbacks come one day after spy problems caused gm to
6:26 pm
temporarily shut down a u.s. plant. >> thank you for that. we would like to recap our top stories. the international community is gearing up for military action in response to a un operation of the rising military force against the gaddafi regime. obama has threatened to join in the military action if gaddafi does not comply with demands for a cease fire. emergency crews have been down cindy fukushima -- have been dousing the fukushima nuclear power plant. many continue to shop for from food shortages and cold weather. we will continue to bring you all of the latest news and animation. stay tuned for "dw-tv.
6:27 pm
thanks for joining us. ,,
6:28 pm
6:29 pm
6:30 pm
>> hinojosa: last year police officers arrested more than two million american children under the age of 18. a disproportionate number of them were african american and latino. can this pipeline to prison be stopped? with us, juvenile court judge leslie harris. i'm maria hinojosa. this is one on one. judge harris, welcome to our program. >> thank you. >> hinojosa: so leslie harris, you serve on the juvenile court here in massachusetts. >> yes, ma'am. >> hinojosa: and i guess, before anything, i am sitting before a judge, so should i call you your
6:31 pm
honor? >> in court, i'm your honor. >> hinojosa: okay, i hope i don't have to see you in court. >> no. outside i'm leslie. >> hinojosa: you're leslie. so we can do leslie. >> yes, ma'am. >> hinojosa: so you have a fascinating background. you grew up in chicago, on the south side of chicago. and you very easily could have become one of the statistics that we hear about-- dropout young black man ends up, you know, involved with the criminal justice system. you ended up in a very different place. you are now sitting on the bench, and you're looking at these young people who come before you. tell me a little bit about how you made that transition from almost being a dropout to ending up as a judge. >> well, the dropout was easy. the assistant principal caught me and explained to me in none-too-gentle terms what he would do to me if i wasn't in school. but that was the '60s, and he could do that. >> hinojosa: and he actually said to you... he caught you going back into school because you wanted to go back for your band practice. >> yes. >> hinojosa: you had been cutting school. >> yes.
6:32 pm
>> hinojosa: and he caught you and he said... what did he say? >> he said he'd beat me, physically beat me. and he didn't say it quite like that. he used some other language. but he got it across to me then. and i was afraid of mr. springs. he was one of those wonderful men who kept the school running. he was an assistant principal, and cared about us. >> hinojosa: and at that moment, you basi... you could have just said, "well, i don't care what vice pri... >> and just not come back to the school. >> hinojosa: and what made you say, "i've got to come back to school"? >> well, i had already had enough credits to graduate. i didn't understand the importance of an education at that point. i didn't connect that the people who were basically mentoring me were all college graduates. >> hinojosa: oh, so you mean, like, people, like, whether they were teachers or working at the school, you thought that... >> or in the community. >> hinojosa: you just thought that they were just... they just had great jobs because they had great jobs. >> yes. >> hinojosa: not because they had gone to college, or... >> never thought about it. you know, i had already applied to college, because friends of mine were applying to college.
6:33 pm
i had been accepted at northwestern and notre dame and a few other colleges. but i was going to be a truck driver. i wanted to see the country. and... >> hinojosa: i don't understand that, though. i found that fascinating when i was reading your bio. you had said that you... being a truck driver, being a postal worker, would have been good enough for you. but at the same time, you were a good student, and you were accepted at northwestern university in chicago. >> yes, ma'am, and had worked as a student at university of chicago. but making the connection when you don't have... i didn't know what a ba was, or a master's degree. i was going to get a diploma, because i had never sat down with anyone and talked about what college really was. and it just... making the connections, understanding the importance of education and your future, wasn't quite there. now, lucky for me, some of my classmates were going off to northwestern, and they were
6:34 pm
friends. and so i said, "oh, i'll go to northwestern." i even applied to the naval academy, and had met with my congressman, and i was a lieutenant colonel in the rotc. >> hinojosa: you were a good kid, and yet you could have easily just become a dropout. so when you look at these kids now who end up in your juvenile court, and they have dropped out... >> i understand now the connection. i understand what the difference is if you have an education and if you don't. because i've gone back to chicago. i've gone back to the projects where i grew up. i've looked for other friends who didn't go off, and they're not there. they're either dead or in prison or living bad lives, so many of them. and that frightens me, you know, because i know the connection between education and having a future. >> hinojosa: but how often, judge harris, does it happen where you know that you're looking at a really smart kid, and yet the kid doesn't get the
6:35 pm
connection? the kid thinks like you, like, "school, somehow i'll figure this out." you know, "if i drop out of school i'll still be able to get a good job." how do you know when you've actually been able to make these kids understand that connection? >> well, you know, when you talk to kids, if you talk to young kids, they want to be doctors and lawyers and principals and teachers and all. and that's up to the third or fourth grade. when you talk to children in the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, high school, they want to be football players, basketball players, mechanics, beauticians. and there's nothing wrong with those jobs if that's what you've always wanted to be. but it's really settling, in their minds-- "i'm not smart enough to do these other things." >> hinojosa: where are they getting that message that they're not smart enough? how come they're internalizing that? >> i believe, my personal... i taught third, fourth grade. and i believe that between third and fourth grade there's a transition from learning things to applying things. and when children start having to apply, and they start seeing their shortcomings, they start
6:36 pm
having doubts about themselves and start saying, "i'm not smart enough to do this," or "i can't do this." and instead of us as parents and teachers and educators taking them and trying to say, "yes, you can," you know, "with this support and a little guidance you can make it," they don't always get that. and, you know, when we have a recession, when we start cutting things, the first things we cut are those services going to children. we cut the teachers, we take the music out of the schools. if they didn't have music in my high school, i wouldn't have been sneaking back into school to get caught. >> hinojosa: right, because you played on the band, and that was a big deal for you. >> a big deal, you know? and the very things that make children want to be at school besides reading, writing, and arithmatic is those other things-- the debate clubs, the drama clubs, the music. our kids don't learn music in the city anymore. only special schools have music. and it should be at every school.
6:37 pm
i keep hearing, like, in some countries it's a part of every child's education. >> hinojosa: in fact, you have this really radical idea that you would love school to be taught from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm? >> yes. >> hinojosa: six days a week. >> yes, ma'am. >> hinojosa: and the... >> the difference would be children would want to be there, because it would be more exciting than not being there. teachers... we'd have two sets of teachers-- the morning teachers and the afternoon teachers. we'd have doctors there, we'd have the services that support children. if a child became pregnant, they wouldn't be put out of school. their child would become a part of the school. my belief is that we need to teach every child more than one language, that school should be fun. we have children... >> hinojosa: but how long, judge harris, how long have we been saying that, "school has got to be fun"? and yet the dropout rate is so high. >> we talk about leaving no child behind. but we don't meet the needs of
6:38 pm
children. i never understood the mental health issues, the social issues that children were faced wtih until i became a judge and had to start addressing some of those issues. >> hinojosa: so paint us a picture of what we're not seeing, what we don't understand. i mean, you talk about mental health, and i'm like, "what is the mental health issue that we need to know about, our teenagers, our african american and latino teenagers?" >> our children have... well, when you get up in the morning and you're afraid to go to school, you're afraid to be at school, and then you're afraid to travel back home, it's got to have an impact on you. so just the fear that some kids deal with in their day to day living. but when your parents are struggling, sometimes a single mom is struggling, that impacts children. but there's also the adhd, all that alphabet that we label children with, and the medications that children are
6:39 pm
put on. and i have had many children who are psychotic, who have severe mental health issues. and if we don't address these issues when they're small and young and able to get them under control so they can still learn, then we know what's going to happen to them when they're adults. >> hinojosa: but, so how... okay, you talk about some children who end up in your courtroom who are psychotic. but what's a typical kid... i mean, you're in that court... >> typical child that comes in our court comes one time. see, when we read newspapers and we hear about our children, we think that we have monsters on our hand, and we don't. most of our children got in a fight someplace, or got mad at a police officer for speaking to them in the wrong way. >> hinojosa: and the kid responded to the police officer? >> yeah, or, you know, just stupid things that most of us might have done as young people. see, if i were growing up now, first off i would have been put on medication, because i was
6:40 pm
disruptive in school. >> hinojosa: you're a good student, but disruptive. >> yeah, i'd finish my work and mess with everybody else, you know? >> hinojosa: okay, so you would have been put on medication. >> i would have a record, because i had a fight in school. >> hinojosa: okay. >> and today, if you have a fight, instead of going to the principal's office, you go before a judge. >> hinojosa: which is really crazy. are you saying that across the country, when kids get into just regular fights in high school, it's not resolved by the principal? >> not every school, but the vast majority of the kids that i have... who have come in front of me for fighting, it's at school. >> hinojosa: and let me ask you this-- is it that most of the children who get caught fighting and who end up in front of you in the courtroom are african american and latino, and that if the fight happens in a different kind of a school... >> yes, ma'am, that's basically true.
6:41 pm
other schools have... still will suspend you or make your parent come up to the school. we talk about zero tolerance in too many of our schools. and that has been interpreted as if you get in a fight, you're our, you're suspended, you're sent away to a different school. instead of having that child's parent or parents come up to school and addressing it in school, having that child stay after schol, or doing whatever you have to do to address it in school, they're taking it to courts. >> hinojosa: okay. but i'm sure that there are some parents who are seeing this who are saying, "wow, you know, i understand what the judge is saying, but if there's a kid who's fighting in the school, and maybe is..." >> if you're a repeat offender... >> hinojosa: oh, so you're just saying don't send them off in the first fight. >> the first... you know... >> hinojosa: give the kid a break. >> if someone has a child on the ground and kicking them in the head, or kicking them and all, they need to be in front of me or some other judge. but i had two young men in
6:42 pm
court, had a fight at school. they came to school, and one parent was there. i said, "where is the other parent?" the one parent that raised their... i said, "no ma'am, you're here. i need the other parent." she said, "i can explain. he stayed the night at my house last night because we both couldn't take off from work, so i brought the boys to court this time. next time she'll come." i said, "wait a moment. what do you mean he stayed... they were fighting." she said, "they're best friends." that kid should not have been in my court. >> hinojosa: so they had gotten caught in a fight, and they spent the night together. >> yeah, you know? when the fight's over, they're still friends. >> hinojosa: so what are we not getting? >> we are letting... first off we're letting newspapers and tv define who our children are. they're making our children into monsters, and they're not. there are cases where the actions of children are monstrous. i'm not arguing that. and we have some horrific cases. but that's not the majority of
6:43 pm
children. and we should not set our rules, our laws, our guidelines, based on those children. i understand that we have to have safe schools. and i am... my wife's a teacher, my oldest son's a teacher, i'm a former teacher. i want them safe in school, i want my grandchildren safe in school. that's not what i'm talking about. what i am saying is that we still need to go back to some of the old-fashioned, "you have to stay and do detention, you have to go clean up this room," or, "you have to do something," other than being put out of school. we have children who are learning disabled, who have ieps that say that they're special needs kids. there's laws that govern how many days they can be suspended from school. and people are not paying attention to those laws. see, teachers and principals are being evaluated. and they're losing their jobs because of what's happening in the schools. so they want to have a controlled school to show that they can run a good school. >> hinojosa: so it's all this kind of, like, one... a notch o.
6:44 pm
when these kids do end up in your courtroom, and you do have to see them and perhaps even pass judgement on them, what happens to these kids after they've been in your courtroom once? i mean, do you see that they are repeat offenders, or does this experience completely put a damper on their whole future? >> well, anytime you've been arrested, your future has been compromised. when you get... >> hinojosa: anytime. >> anytime... that footprint in massachusetts will follow you for the rest of your life. >> hinojosa: even if... as a juvenile? >> as a juvenile. >> hinojosa: isn't it supposed to be that if you're a juvenile your case is closed? >> well, they say that, but when you apply for certain jobs you sign a waiver so that they can get your total record. and that arrest... or when you apply to college now, some... the uniform college, the one on the computer, asks, "have you ever been arrested?" not convicted. "have you ever been arrested?
6:45 pm
please explain." so you have to explain away any arrests that you have. and that's a big deal when you're talking about going to college. so to me, i want to keep children out of court. i want to keep them from being arrested so that they don't have to try to explain away an arrest. >> hinojosa: so when these kids end up in your courtroom... i know that i did a story a long time ago for national public radio where i uncovered that for kids now, and kids of all races, you know, going to jail is not one of those strikes against you. it's kind of like, "i went to jail, i'm a man now." >> yes, your red badge of courage, as i call it. one of the reasons i don't want children locked up is because they believe they can handle it, they adjust to it. they believe that they can do it. and they can say, "oh, man, i handled that." you know, "i'm a man," you know, "manned up," you know, whatever.
6:46 pm
no. prison is not the same as a juvenile detention center. but i don't want these children going into the adult system. when we are successful, the kids don't get arrested and go into the adult system. i consider it a failure every time one of the kids we've had ends up in the adult system. >> hinojosa: judge harris, do you... do you find yourself, after you've spent a day on the bench, getting home and just thinking, "did i do the right thing, should i have let this kid go, did i do the right thing by sending him to a detention center?" >> of course. >> hinojosa: so you're always... >> i have reversed some of my decisions because i said, "wait a moment, there's got to be another alternative," sometimes. i mean, mostly when you make a decision it's after you have tried so many other ways to address... we try diversion programs, we try, you know, child on probation. the majority of the kids we end up locking up are those who have been on probation and have
6:47 pm
failed. very few kids come in, get convicted, and get locked up. it has to be a gun or some serious crime to do that. most children come in, either they go into a diversion program ahead of time, or if they are convicted or plead, they're on probation. the problem is, most of these children lack the discipline to survive probation. one of the studies that they did years ago says anytime you put someone on probation for more than three years, you're setting them up to fail. this was an adult study, but i believe it applies to children even more. if you're going to place a child on probation and they survive two years-- i mean, that should be for a serious case-- without being rearrested, the odds are they're not going to come back to the court. >> hinojosa: so you have these kids' lives in your hands. did you ever imagine that you would end up... and when you sit on your bench, you're in, you
6:48 pm
know, your full court regalia, but do those kids who come up to you, judge, look and say, "wait a second, he's got two diamond studs in his ear. what's up with it?" i mean, do you talk to them and you say... and you talk to them like, "i understand you," and they look at you like, "there's no way, judge, that you can understand me"? >> i've had one child tell me i couldn't understand because i was born with a silver spoon. i said, "you just talked yourself into an hour lecture." >> hinojosa: oh, my god, what happened at that moment? you didn't really give him an hour lecture from the... >> well, close to it. >> hinojosa: from the bench? >> yes, of course. >> hinojosa: and you had the whole courtroom listening to you? >> well, the people who work with me know me, and they all knew what was going to happen. you can't be late to my court, because i believe being on time is one of the things we need to teach children, and sometimes their parents. there's a consequence to being late. >> hinojosa: and what happens if they're late to your courtroom, judge? >> the first time it's a warning, the second time they go into custody and let the lawyer do an argument. most of the time i still won't keep them, but i'm letting them
6:49 pm
know that 9:00 means you're there before 9:00. i did not invite them into this court, i don't want them in my court, but if they're going to be there, they're going to be there on time and be respectful and do what they have to do. >> hinojosa: well, there are some people who say, "okay, judge, well, it sounds like you're kind of hard-edged on this particular issue, but it seems like you don't necessarily want to sentence them, on the other hand." >> i don't want to lock up any child. in fact, we're working very hard to reduce the number of children that we lock up. >> hinojosa: and you have a program that's called the detention diversion advocacy project. >> ddap, as we call it. >> hinojosa: now, that project basically lets kids go back to school, be at home, they've got mentors. i ask the question, well, why wouldn't you send every kid who ends up in your courtroom who's, you know, a borderline kid, to the diversion project? >> first off, you have to have enough people to service them. ddap is intensive. the people who work with these children are on call 24 hours.
6:50 pm
they take them to counseling, they're involved at their schools, they take them to sports events, they work with the parents, they're on call from the parents and the children as to need. you can't do that if you've got 50 kids that you're working with. you have to have a small caseload. >> hinojosa: so you're always having to triage. >> oh, yes. and the real hard part about this is that we know what works. this is not rocket science. we know that children who are busy and engaged don't come to court. if you have a child's attention, they're doing things that they enjoy, they don't have time to get in trouble. we don't get the kids who are at the boys and girls clubs, who are involved in tennis, who are involved in drama clubs and those types of things. most of the children, i ask, "what do you do after school?" "hang with my boys, i chill, i don't do nothing." you know, those are the children we end up with. >> hinojosa: okay, well, from the bench, what can you say to
6:51 pm
them? "i want you to get involved in tennis, i want you to start playing softball," and they're looking at you like, "judge harris, please, i live in a really poor neighborhood." >> yeah, some neighborhoods have no activities. through programs like ddap, they get into activities, they find things for them, they get the counseling they need. they get the reassurance that they are somebody important. and that's why i find the program so important. >> hinojosa: but do you feel like you're just, you know, running, like sisyphus, just trying to get up that hill, and you've got all of this against you, you've got budget cuts that are going to influence, you've got, you know, the schools that are cracking down and cutting programs, and here you are, you essentially see these kids when they're about to go over the edge. >> one of the wonderful things about being a judge and living in the community is i see my kids. i run into them. the other day i ran into a guy, he's 20 years old, he said, "you were my judge, weren't you?" i said, "yes." he said, "well, i didn't get in
6:52 pm
trouble anymore. i listened to you," you know? and his girlfriend came out, "judge, oh, you really saved him." you know, you get that once in a while. not all the time, but you get it. and it's what makes it possible to go back and deal with the other cases where you're not so successful. >> hinojosa: so give me a success rate, judge. what are we talking about? >> i have no idea. >> hinojosa: i mean, are we talking about... >> most of our kids are wonderful young people. the vast majority, i'm talking 95% of our kids, are just that-- children who were in the wrong place, or did something stupid one time or twice. you know, but really aren't bad. they're not out trying to hurt people. we have that small group of kids who keep coming back, who are our robbing people, intimidating people, who are violent. yes, ma'am, they exist, and we need to deal with them. but we don't need to throw them away. we need to take the time to try to change their lives.
6:53 pm
when you find out the history of some of these children, what they have been through... >> hinojosa: and you... are you able to ask that from the bench? >> we do get... you know, we have a court clinic, which helps us. they do counseling, but they also do competency and criminal responsibility. dcs sometimes will give us a history about this child. and you see generation after generation of abuse. you see generation after generation of drug addiction. and then you say, "how did it take this child so long... >> hinojosa: to end up in front of you. >> end up in front of me?" >> hinojosa: and when you see that case of that kid who's got a generation, or another generation behind him of this problem, how do you save him? i mean, do you believe that from you, sitting on that court bench, looking so authoritative, and at the same time being able to talk with them in a very honest, clear... on their level, how many of them are you able to actually get through? >> i think we get through to more than we think. i ask kids to give me their word.
6:54 pm
>> hinojosa: oh, i love that. and i'm sure there are people who are saying, "mmm, there's a judge saying, 'give me your word.'" >> people don't understand. >> hinojosa: you want to give these kids a benefit of the doubt. >> they give you their word that they're going to do something like go to school. "give me your word you're going to be in school every day." i said, "i'll take your word the first time. now, if you don't do it, then we have to deal with that." i said, "but you give me your word as a person, talking to me, i'm going to take your word the first time." because that's what i would want people do to for me. i say, "i take your lawyers word." because most of the lawyers i know. i say, "if they say this is what happened, i don't question that. i want to be able to do the same thing with you." >> hinojosa: where is it that you get, judge, this notion... and i guess we'll just end here. you are hopeful for these kids. >> oh, yes. >> hinojosa: where did you get the notion of hope, and what is the hope that you want to leave us with so that when we see these kids we don't see monsters and potential criminals, we see hope? >> someone who had dealt with me as a child... i was told i'd
6:55 pm
never finish eighth grade. but people who had no obligation to me, who did not know me sometimes, helped me. and i feel that i owe them, and i owe our children the same benefit. you know, it's not just my biological children i'm concerned about. i'm concerned about everyone's child. >> hinojosa: and thank you for all of your work, and for caring so much, judge harris. >> thank you for having me here. >> hinojosa: it's a pleasure. continue the conversation at captioned by media access group at wgbh
6:56 pm
6:57 pm
6:58 pm
6:59 pm